What’s The Matter With Matter-Based Billing?
Matter-based billing is unique to the law industry. Other service businesses bill by client and commercial billing software is designed around this model. If you don’t use specialized legal billing software like CosmoLex then you are going to face some challenges.
Applying Payments – When clients have multiple matters with your practice you need to be sure that a given payment goes to the correct charges. Clients don’t usually write separate checks for each matter, but rather send one large payment for all outstanding fees. You don’t want to end up applying a huge credit to one matter, leaving another one looking as though it is delinquent. Your billing software should make it easy to parcel out a payment into multiple matters and keep each of them up to date.
Administering Retainers – As important as it is to track payments, it is even more important to account for retainers. Applying a retainer from one matter onto another matter’s charges is not just sloppy; it’s unethical and illegal. CosmoLex includes built-in trust account software that simplifies retainer management, whether those retainers are deposited in your operating account or a trust account.
Tracking By Matter, Billing By Client – The tricky aspect of matter-based billing is your clients probably don’t really care. They just want to know what they owe so they can pay it. The fact that some of the charges are from one case and some are from another isn’t meaningful to them. They want simple, straightforward billing that simply lays out how much they owe. You have to be able to enter charges and separate them by matter, but also to generate unified billing for the client’s convenience.
Different Billing Models – Further complicating matter-based billing is not all cases are billed the same. You might be dealing with a simple, flat fee matter as well as a more complex case that you are billing by the hour and a third case that is waiting on a contingency settlement. Can your billing software account for all three common legal billing models? Can it do so even if all the cases belong to a single client? Without the right legal office management software you may end up cobbling together a hybrid billing solution that isn’t fair to you or to the client.
Try CosmoLex free for 30 days with no obligation and you will see why a specialized billing product is the right choice for your legal practice.